Beloved veteran Hamilton teacher dies at 57 from coronavirus

Lori Rich, a 23-year veteran teacher at Hamilton's Colonial School, died recently after battling coronavirus. The 57-year-old instructor leaves a loving legacy of caring for both young children and homeless pets. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

Lori Rich, a Hamilton teacher, is being remembered for a loving heart for young children and abandoned animals.

The beloved, pre-kindergarten teacher at the city’s Colonial School, recently died after contracting the coronavirus. She was 57.

Rich was a Hamilton native and graduate of the city’s high school who had worked at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts before her 23-year career at Colonial.

Rich’s mother also died from the coronavirus in August.

“She had an undying, maternal instinct and she loved taking care of children and animals,” said Lori’s husband Bruce Rich.

“We’ve had as many as 13 cats in our house we had rescued and later found foster homes for. Lori also had a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh."

The family also hosted foreign exchange students – three during a five-year period – and in the summer volunteered to host two college baseball players who played for the Hamilton Joes team.

“She was an extraordinarily selfless person,” he said.

Karen Makela, Colonial School administrator, released a statement after Rich’s passing noting "she has shaped hundreds of children’s lives and been an incredible steward of intergenerational learning. "Lori loved the children, residents and staff that made up her “second family” at Colonial School. Mrs. Rich always met the children exactly where they were and did everything she could to ensure their success.

"Mrs. Rich always went above and beyond to help others— whether it was hatching chickens, taking care of her multiple class pets (feeding the squirrels!), supporting her co-workers and especially new teachers.

Her husband watched many times over the years as she taught.

“It was really a loving thing. The kids respected her so much,” he said.

Rich is survived by two children, Sophia in Columbus, Ohio and Noah Rich, who recently moved to Japan to teach.

Memorial services are still being determined but Rich said it will likely be a public event to better accommodate the anticipated number of well-wishers.

In Other News